A few weeks ago, I bought Reggie a new dog bed. It’s a hypoallergenic, cooling, memory foam, plush, state-of-the-art, super duper, space-age bed. This is a dog bed fit for Canis Major, the king of the dogs.
Reggie hates the new bed.
He will go so far as to lie next to the bed. On the floor.
I’ve tried to show him the fabulousness of this bed. I put treats on the cushion to lure him into the bed. He would eat the treats and slink away. Then I put the old bed cushions on the new bed to transfer the eau d’ Reggie. No dice. As a last ditch effort, I sat in the bed myself. I realize this was ridiculous. He knows how to enjoy a dog bed. He used his old bed every day.
Then why buy a new bed? The old bed was getting a bit tattered and the stuffing had gone lifeless. Reggie has some arthritis in his back legs and I thought he’d need something with better cushions.
My mother had some silly advice. “Why don’t you just let him use the old bed? He obviously likes it better.” Pfft.
Yet I conducted a mini-experiment. I put the old bed back, he climbed in. I put the new bed down, he stared at it unflinching. Deep breath. Was he doing this to annoy me? Okay, I know this isn’t really about me. But I want him to want to use the new bed. I want him to be comfortable.
My mother again. “Despite your good intentions, maybe he is more comfortable on the old bed.” Good intentions. The road to Hell’s Kitchen is paved with them.
A work friend knows this all too well. She took her two children, ages seven and four, to Disney World during Spring Break. She’d been planning the trip for months. She had it all mapped out: where they would stay, the daily itinerary, meals, a breakfast with princesses. She was careful to include breaks, making sure the kids weren’t overwhelmed. The vacation wasn’t cheap, but she and her husband had scrimped and saved. I bet you know where this story is going.
From the moment they arrived at the Magic Kingdom until the day they left, the kids (and, she admitted to me sheepishly, the parents) were in complete meltdown. It was hot and humid. The crowds were suffocating. There was whining, kicking, screaming. One princess had to excuse herself to clean vomit from her gown. But a real low point came when my friend dragged the older child to the It’s a Small World ride saying, “Stop crying! We paid $400 to come here today.”
She was horrified, but she meant well. She didn’t want to throw in the towel. They could still salvage what was left of the trip. If her family could just get it together, then things could end on a high note. If Reggie would just enjoy his new dog bed, I’d feel so much better.
I learned that good intentions gone awry have a lot to do with our expectations. There are strings attached to our good intentions. We expect our thoughtfulness to be received a certain way and we’re surprised when the recipient doesn’t match our enthusiasm. That leads to disappointment and frustration. We want others to share our vision, and when they don’t, it can be difficult to part with the original expectations.
Reggie still isn’t using his new dog bed, but I haven’t given up hope yet.
Have a great weekend, everyone!